10 Apr Where’s the farm? Plant-based meat alternatives on the growth
Over the past few years, many consumers and food start-ups have put the spotlight on the sustainability of the meat production process and, therefore, several plant-based meat alternatives have appeared on the market. Even restaurants are starting to deliver lab created chicken. Concern has grown also because of the links between eating meat and health problems.
According to Robert Goodman’s study about domestic animals and climate change, 51% of annual worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are caused by livestock and their by-products. Additionally, livestock farming contributes to deforestation, water pollution, and increases human freshwater footprint. All this, coupled with the fact that the world population is expected to reach 9.5 billion by 2030, predicts a very promising future for meat substitute marketwhich is already on the rise.
With that in mind, some new trends and innovative projects have emerged that seek healthy and tasty alternatives for both vegetarians and meat lovers.
Impossible Foods is a Silicon Valley-based start-up which investigates the molecular basis of food flavour and textures to make plant-based meat alternatives directly from plants. Its flagship product is the Impossible Burger, which uses 95% less land, 74% less water and creates 87% less greenhouse gas emission than usual burgers. This plant-based burger was created by extracting vegetable components and combining them to make a product that actually tastes like meat. Despite being made from natural vegetable ingredients, it looks like a burger, smells like a burger and feels like a burger.
Speaking of burgers, two partners launched in Oregon a chain of restaurants with 100% plant-based and cholesterol free burgers. Next Level Burger is a company that was born with the aim of making a positive impact on the planet and serving healthy and eco-friendly food in restaurants that respect the environment. Also, they ensure that their ingredients, from ketchup to fries, are 100% organic and fresh produce.
New Harvest was born more than a decade ago as a research institute and, thanks to tissue engineering and cellular agriculture, they seek to provide sustainable food that replaces traditional animal byproducts such as eggs, beef or milk. They define themselves as researchers that reinvent the way of making animal products, without animals. Their purpose is to reduce environmental and public health impact of the massive production of animal products and to avoid animal suffering during the manufacturing process.
Following in the footsteps of these previous projects, McGill University students have developed a plant-based burger made of mushrooms and vegetable proteins such as black beans and pea proteins. Their creation was called Rephyll, and on their website, the students show its formulation. This new plant-based meat alternative imitates appearance, texture and flavor of traditional burger as well as its cooking experience. Thanks to Rephyll, those students earned first place in the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association & MARS Product Development Competition in 2016.
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